© EPA-EFE/Sáshenka Gutiérrez
The events of mid-July in Cuba were by no means a spontaneous expression of popular discontent over the severe living conditions. That was an action prepared from outside, aimed to incite a Maidan-style "color revolution" or the one we recently witnessed in Belarus. The United States is provoking a social upheaval in Cuba to overthrow the legitimate government and change the country's socio-political model.
We are talking about political opposition nurtured by the Americans via social media and many anti-Cuban web resources, as the Internet has only become available to the Cubans several years ago but has already spread across the island. Unfortunately, I want to place on record that by means of information provocations in cyberspace, the Americans managed to ruin things in Cuba more dramatically than during the entire period of the still valid trade and economic embargo they imposed against the republic in the early 1960s. Western media are passionately claiming that things of this kind have never happened since the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
Over the last twenty years, the United States has spent about $250 million to fund subversive anti-Cuban initiatives. During the embargo lifetime, Cuba lost trillions of dollars that could have been spent on economic and social development. More recently, the United States has been pursuing a policy towards Cuba as part of its struggle against Venezuela, which is actually Cuba's oil donor. Washington is doing its best to block the supply of Venezuelan oil to the island and thereby cause a downturn in Cuba, which, as envisioned by Washington, should entail a further decline for the Cubans. Meanwhile, economic and social difficulties should lead to a probable civil anti-government unrest. This has been going on for years, but Cuba is holding on, as it did over the 60 years of blockade, and especially in the 1990s, when the socialist camp's collapse and Russia's withdrawal from Cuba caused the most acute economic grievances for its residents.
Today, the latter have a hard row to hoe. Due to the lack of fuel and depreciation of CHP plants' equipment, the authorities fall back upon power cuts. What does this mean in the tropics? Refrigerators become defrosted, foodstuffs get spoiled amid their deficit and necessity to have them rationed. Power cuts bring about scarce water supplies. Hard times, in a word. Even a man of nerve would freak out following two or three days without electricity. It was the power outages that served as a formal reason for mass demonstrations of July 11.
If we evaluate this in a superficial manner, the main culprit is the Cuban leadership, which is the way Western media and local "rowdies" depict the situation. And they certainly gloss over US multilateral sanctions being at the heart of this crisis. Neither do they recollect that Cuba has the best free medicine and health care system, as well as the best free education system in Latin America. When lacking electricity and water, average Cubans (who take it for granted already) neglect free medicine and education for their children, but think of defrosted fridges and bad food. This is the psychological tactics of those economically strangling Cuba from the outside.
There is a consideration here: most Havana demonstrators are young people who grew up after the collapse of the socialist system, amid perpetual crisis. The Cuban Revolution is history for them. But the point is that it is young people in Cuba, like elsewhere in the world, who hang out on social media that became available several years ago along with Internet access opening. The World Wide Web has become a gateway for Cuba, through which a stream of misinformation has poured into the country about its leadership and current situation. Back in 2010, the United States attempted to intervene into the Cuban cyberspace by creating a youth-oriented Twitter-like ZunZuneo messenger "under false colors". The purpose was to arrange a "Cuban spring". A few years later, the Americans scuttled this messenger, allegedly over the lack of funding. But this wasn't quite the end of it.
In January 2018, the US State Department created the Cuba Internet Task Force "to promote the free and unregulated flow of information in Cuba." As a result, a whole swarm of online resources has appeared, which, as Granma writes, "is trying to legitimize the U.S. hegemonic vision of democracy and freedom in Cuba. With their annexationist strategy, they constantly intoxicate the social networks with distorted information about almost everything that happens on the island." Sensible of the fact that it is through social media that the Americans seek to orchestrate an anti-government riot, the Cuban authorities temporarily shut out the Internet. And mass demonstration dispelled. This positively proves that it was not a spontaneous revolt of the Cubans dissatisfied with their lives, but an action of the local opposition from among young Cubans waiting for a change but having no clear understanding of its aftermath. The police arrested those who prompted anti-government protests with the population. President of Cuba Miguel Diaz-Canel said those who have played a hand in the demonstrations will be held accountable by law.
Similar actions to provoke "spontaneous" mass demonstrations using social media have been observed in the last couple of years in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Bolivia and in other Latin American countries, as well as on other continents. The evidence from recent practice shows that American intrigues fail where the authorities and people see through the trick and show fortitude in the face of US exploitation of the "democratic space of the Internet". The Cuban authorities seem to have held ground. Let's wait and see how the cat jumps, because Uncle Sam is not going to stop here.